Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Promotional Interview with Chris Hoare

Your Name:

Christopher Hoare.

Where you are from and where are you now?

I was born in London, England and am now a Canadian Citizen living in a small community in Alberta against the Rocky Mountains.

How did you get started writing?

I wrote some articles about the desert for a local English language newspaper while I worked in Libya. At the same time, a historical scenario grew in my mind – an attempt to create real characters at the time of the arrival of the Saxons in Roman Britain. I left Libya and moved to Canada, and after my first winter’s work, set up residence in a truck-camper and spent the summer traveling and attempting to write that early novel.

What do you do when you are not writing?

There’s not a lot of time left over. I belong to a number of online social sites where I join discussion groups about writing and publishing. I also belong to several writing groups where I take part in reading and critiquing other writers’ work. I’m secretary of a local political party constituency and prepare for election campaigns, as well as participate in community activities and the local senior’s centre.

What would readers like to know about you?

I really don’t know. Perhaps I might offer a lesson about changing times and perceptions. When I started working as a surveyor in oil exploration, in 1963, I believed I was involved in noble work that fuelled almost every aspect of modern society. When I retired about four years ago, I had become one of the desecrators of wilderness and polluters of the world, and yet I did exactly the same things. It’s interesting how fluid perceptions are – and how distant they can be from reality.

What inspired your first book?

this might be one of the things I don’t want readers to know – . I was young and arrogant and believed I could write this real story about a time in history that had been muddied by popular acceptance of Arthurian myth. I also believed that I could write a purer truth by keeping myself away from every other school and fashion in literature. I believe it can be called ‘learning the hard way’. The novel that finally resulted earned a few polite rejections, and I learned it was better to stand upon the shoulders of those who had gone before. But I still write from my own perception of the craft and of the business and prefer to strike out in directions that others haven’t seen.

How many books have you written?

I have two tallies here. Actual books that exist and can be picked up by a member of the public and read number two: Deadly Enterprise and The Wildcat’s Victory, the first two stories of my Iskander series. Books that were completed but never went anywhere, starting with Wyrd’s Harvest in 1968, number five or perhaps five and a half. There are also two more Novels under contract that will appear over the next twelve months and two and a half that I’m still working on. The halves are actually one novel that was once accepted but not published, re-written a few times, and is now waiting for me to summon the energy to plunge into it again.

What are the titles of your books and what genres are they?

There are the two Iskander novels I name above, as well as Arrival, the prequel to them, and an as yet un-named sequel. The Iskander series are about Gisel Matah, the tough and clever young security officer from a group of modern people marooned in a 17th century alternate Earth. The genre is science fiction and the science is sociology – because the plots all weave around the impact of the two groups upon one another – as seen through Gisel’s turbulent career.

I also have a fantasy called Rast under contract. It has a clash between a magic kingdom and a mechanistic group of empire builders. It’s somewhat of a satire on materialism and somewhat an allegory stemming from my indoctrination in imperialism through my childhood in 40s and 50s Britain. The characters include a prince who must become a sorcerer-king, his sweetheart who must fight for her right to marry him, a militaristic bully, and a deadly magic that eventually destroys its practitioners.

How do you decide on that topic or genre?

I’ve tried writing about real world experiences in oil exploration, but everything comes out either dull and boring or ludicrously exaggerated, so the novels that work best for me are all some form of speculative fiction.

How do you manage to keep yourself focused and on track?

When have I ever been on track? I have two novels going at once, I also do my volunteer work as well as the odd survey job, like locating and marking a new fence line for a property standing on its end on the side of a couple of mountains. I’m taking up meditation again – partly because one novel depicts it extensively and partly to centre myself more securely in this chaotic world.

Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

Gee, I hope I’m writing to at least break even. A way to go on that, yet. I write because I cannot not write. Sometimes I get away from writing into some other business or activity, but I always find myself obsessed with stories and have to write them.

What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used?

I’ve done a few readings and book signings. I haven’t done a real audit on the financial details but I don’t think the time spent or the fuel used to get there have been repaid by the resulting book sales. I guess one has to write off the time and cost as necessary exposure, but I don’t intend to do very much more.

What are some unique methods of marketing you have used?

I have joined almost all of the online social networking sites and then participate in groups – mostly, but not all connected with reading and books. I don’t yet know how many sales have followed from this, but I feel I can connect with more potential readers online than I ever could in the sparsely populated area where I live.

Do you sell through a website? If so, what’s the address? If not, why not?

Not a website of my own, my publisher’s website has more traffic than mine ever could. In addition my books are also available from Amazon as paperbacks and Kindle editions. You can locate all of them through my author page on Double Dragon –

Where can people order your books?

The links on Amazon are; Deadly Enterprise

The Wildcat’s Victory

What format are your books – e-book, print, audio etc?

From Double dragon and Fictionwise they can be downloaded in e-book formats; they are available from Amazon as POD paperbacks and Kindle downloads.

Will you write more books?

Until the pallbearers carry me away.

What do you have in the works now?

I have a SF novel about a professor of cybernetics who is now abbot of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery that explores some new aspects of space travel, and another story in the Iskander series where Gisel is the military governor of a city filled with spies and rebellion.

What does the future hold for you and your books?

I’m hoping for a steady increase in readership as my list of novels increases. I anticipate publishing many more novels with e-book publishers because the titles remain available years longer than would any new author’s works published conventionally and sold through bookstores.

What was the most successful thing you did to promote your books?

I bugged my publisher at Double Dragon until he agreed to place my POD paperbacks with Lightning Source, which simultaneously makes them available as online orders from Amazon and available to bookstores through Ingram. This gives me the opportunity to promote in many available formats.

What was the least successful thing you did to promote your books?

So far, it’s been to place copies in local stores that are not dedicated booksellers. While it may have been one more way to place the books before the public, most of the copies in such venues were bought while I was actually present in the stores, either book signing or speaking with the proprietor.

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh. For more information, visit –

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